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The twins’ heads explode when they find out that Scabbers isn’t really Scabbers.
Daddy succumbed to their pleas weeks ago and continued with the Prisoner of Azkaban, usually before bedtime in the “big bed.” So, it is a clear exaggeration to say that their heads explode, figuratively explode, at the end of that chapter: “What the what!?” “That rat is a boy!?” “Peter who??” They beg Daddy to read more: “Please, Daddy! Just one more page! That rat is a Peter who? Please! Can we just…” Daddy smiles through a few no’s and shoos them off to bed.

D (waking up): Fisher, what are you doing?
F (sitting next to Daddy): Nothing, Daddy.
D (tired and hoping it’s true): It’s the middle of the night.

Daddy rolls around to get a better look. It is the middle of the night. Fisher is sitting on the bed with something in his hands.

F (smiling): Hi, Daddy.
D: Fisher, it’s still sleeping time, so…
F (holding up the book): Daddy, can we please read some more Harry Potter?
D: No, Fisher, it’s the middle of the night. You need to go back to bed.
F (setting the book back down): Aaaaaaw! But, Daddy…
D: Fisher, it’s sleeping time. Put the book down and go back to bed.

Daddy drifts back off. When Cory comes in later, Daddy gets up with her. Fisher never went back to his bed. He is snoring in a pile of blankets and pillows, his arm wrapped around the book. Daddy and Cory commence morning snuggle in the other room.

D: Morning, Cory Bee. Did you have nice…
C (interrupting): Daddy, can we please read more Harry Potter today?

Well, good morning to you, too.


On a foggy morning walk with Boston (who suddenly mustered the energy to join) and Quincy (who’s always game), I approach a familiar cul-de-sac. There are a couple of photographer’s lights on tall stands in the middle of the street, you know, the kind with big umbrellas intended to reflect just the right light on the subject. It is so foggy out for once that there is very little light, natural or reflected from those umbrellas. All of this is outside a house that I normally have to pay attention to because they sometimes a Bernese roams the front yard off leash.

Well, the Bernese is not the subject of this photo shoot. A motorcycle is parked out in the middle of the street as I approach. Two young women of Indian extraction (I think) are standing next to the motorcycle with the photographer and his assistant. It’s quite the setup. A woman I do recognize walks out of the house carrying a cup of something hot. She smiles and says “hello.” I am wondering what the hell, as one of the girls, fully dressed in jeans, a tasteful blouse, and painfully tall heels, straddles the bike and starts pouting and throwing her hair around while the camera clicks.

Music playing on my iPod, I’m stopped awkwardly while this shoot is going on, you know, so as not to be in the pictures. I am looking around, wondering what the… More pouting. Serious pouting. Is this real? What is this? In a break in the action, I hurry the dogs across the very suburban backdrop for these pictures, while the other Indian girl helps the “model” reset her hair. Or something. A little bit further along, I look back, wondering what the…? The older Indian woman, the owner of the Bernese, is just watching and smiling.

I can pretty much guarantee that if Cory asks us if she can pose for her senior pictures pouting in heels on a motorcycle, even tastefully dressed, we won’t be saying yes. For the record, if Fisher asks, the answer will also be “no.”

Measles, Bumps, and Laughs

C (during morning snuggle): Can people get shots in weird places?
D (hoping she’ll say “Taco Bell”): What’s a weird place?
C: Can people get shots in their mouth?
D: Yes. If you ever have a cavity, the dentist will have to give you a shot right in your mouth.
F/C: What!?
F: Will it hurt?
D: Not that much, no.
C: Can people get a shot in their nose?
D: Yes.
F/C: What?!
F: That hurts, I bet, Daddy!
D: I don’t know. I’ve never had a shot in my nose. They try to make sure that shots don’t hurt too much.


C: Daddy, can you tell us the story about Weasels and Bumps again?
D: About Measles and Mumps?
C: Yah, that one.
D: Don’t forget Rubella. Those are the names of some of Kleodora’s meanest spiders.
F: But, they can’t hurt us, right, Daddy, because of that…
C: Why can’t they hurt us?
F: …because of that backination, right, Daddy?
D: Vaccination. That’s right. You were vaccinated through a shot. That means you can’t get measles, mumps, or rubella. In the real world, those are actually diseases.
C: Are they bad diseases?
D: Very bad diseases. And, do you know that some silly people, older people, not kids, adults like Daddy and Papa, don’t vaccinate their children against those diseases.
F: That’s bad, right, Daddy?
D: Very bad. Those kids could…
C: Those parents don’t save their kids from measles, bumps, and rue-bell?
D: No, they don’t. And that causes problems for other people, too. Because do you know what?
F/C: What?
D: Little babies can’t get vaccinated for measles, mumps, and rubella. You can’t get that shot until you aren’t a baby anymore. So, if someone has one of those diseases, they could give it to a baby.
F (looking horrified): What could happen to that baby?
D: It could get very sick and even die.
C (equally horrified): That baby could die!?
D: Yes. That’s why everyone should get shots like we all did. It’s so sad that anyone would risk killing someone else’s baby for no good reason.
F: I don’t like those people, Daddy.
C: Me either.


C: Daddy, can I tell you something?
D: Yep.
C: Sabrina said that she got sick, so I asked her what she got.
D: Uh huh?
C: And she said what do you mean? So, I said, what did you get? And, she said that she got sick. And, I said, no, what did you GET? Like a virus or a flu or a bactry or what? And she just said that she got sick, so I said one more time, no, Sabrina what did you GET? And, do you know what she said?
D: No, what’d she say?
C: She said, “I got Kleenex.”

They both bust out laughing, serious laughing, as if this story is the funniest frickin’ thing ever, each mixing in plenty of “I got Kleenex” and “Kleenex!” and “That’s funny, right!?” Cory is in near tears from the laughter.

D (abandoning the stupidity of vaccine refusal and the importance of herd immunity): She said what!? (Laughing and tickling.) Kleenex? You are making that up! She didn’t…

More laughing and tickling.

The Wound Check Dancer

D (sitting down with scissors, gauze, and tape): Okay, Fisher, in this wound check, I’ll play the role of the doctor.
F: What could I be?
D (laughing): Well, you are the patient, you goose.
F (shoulders drooping): I’m always the patient.
C: Ah, Daddy, what could I be?
D: You could be my…
C: I know, Daddy! I could be the dancer! (Dancing and smiling.) I could be the wound check dancer.
D (laughing): Perfect. A wound check does go better when it has a good wound check dancer.

Fisher holds his hand still. Daddy cuts the old, droopy gauze off. Cory dances.

F: Daddy, next time could I be the wound check dancer?
D: Sure, but let’s hope there isn’t a next time any time soon, okay?
F: Okay, Daddy.

Cory keeps dancing.

January Daffodils

Fisher complains that it doesn’t snow “at California.”

D: Well, Fisher, would you rather have pretty flowers in the winter or would you rather have snow.
F (without pause): Snow!
D: I’d rather have daffodils.
F: That’s okay, Daddy. That’s all right. (Pause, cheeky tone.) But snow is better.

Daddy lets the kid so used to January daffodils pine for snow.